What a year of kindness taught me
Happy New Year!
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and is looking forward to the year ahead. For me, this is a time for reflection on what worked for my business in 2016 and what I'd like to change for 2017. That's something I really suggest all business owners do, whether you work in healthcare or in some other industry.
One thing I've been reflecting on the last few days is my word of the year for 2016: kindness.
Last year at this time I had the following to say about that word.
I'm going to focus this year on what is most kind to myself, my clients and my business. What actions can I take that will be most authentic? Which projects should I take on because they are a good match (and kind to my business)? How will I approach teaching my ecourse and coaching students that will be the most kind to them and their businesses?
Really, I chose the word because I felt like I wasn't really building the business that would make me happy and would reflect my own values, beliefs, and core desires. If I was going to be writing a blog and newsletter called happy little biz I'd better be true to that statement!
What I expected from a year focused on kindness
More thoughtful interaction, less hustle. Anyone who runs their own business knows what it's like to constantly feel like they need to work harder. You always need to be thinking about bringing in new clients, getting more people booking with you, and how to market and promote yourself. I hoped a year of kindness would give me some space from that and allow me to see what was kind and necessary, and not just focus on the numbers.
More clients who are a great fit. Lots of people contact me to do their website every year. When focused on the numbers, it's so easy to just take everyone on, regardless of what kind of website they need. I hoped a year focused on kindness would allow me to feel comfortable with only taking on clients who are a good match for my skills and expertise, AND find a great way to communicate that to people who aren't a good fit.
More time for self-care and personal reflection and growth. This is an area where I really do "know better", but with running a business it was easy to just run myself into the ground with trying to get everything done. I hoped a year focused on kindness would help me shift to taking better care of myself.
I was lucky to be able to work on all three of these things throughout the year and really felt my business and personal life benefitting from it.
What I learned about being kind to myself and my business
Working with people who I can truly help really is important to me. I mentioned this above, but this past year really drove it home. I started the year having recently ended a project for a client who just wasn't working out, because I was a poor match for what she wanted and needed. I ended the year having launched two websites that were a fantastic match for my skills and expertise. For you health and wellness folks, it might feel like you have to take on everyone as your clients, but really, if you step back and think about it, you have areas where you have good expertise and areas where you really don't know much about a person's needs. Based on my experience, I'd say it's really best to take the clients who are a match, and refer out the clients who would be better suited to someone else.
More time for creativity, art, and self reflection are vital for my wellbeing. For me this includes making more time for reading, doing a daily art project, and journaling more regularly. Do you have things in your life that are vital for your wellbeing but you tend to ignore because you're too busy?
Be comfortable with imperfection. Really, there's no such thing as the perfect website, the perfect business, the perfect brand, or anything else. Perfection is a myth. Focusing on kindness surprisingly helped me look at these things, as I moved away from trying to be 'the best' at things and instead looked at how I could just be authentically me, both in my life and my business. Do you ever find yourself worrying about things at your clinic or business not being perfect? Working to improve things is great, and is something we should all be doing, but it's not healthy to get wrapped up in the idea of it needing to be a certain way to be 'perfect', or that it has to be 'perfect' before you can move forward. Embrace imperfection!
Being kind to others really does help you be kind to yourself! That might seem obvious to a lot of you but it really hit home for me last year. I offered assistance to my clients, my e-course students, and the organization I volunteer with more freely and that really gave me a lot of joy. They say when giving the giver actually gets more than the receiver, and that seemed to be true for me! So if you ever find yourself wondering if you should take extra time to email a follow up to a client to check in with them, or if you should offer assistance to a coworker who is having a particularly hard or busy day, just try it and see how it makes you feel.
Moving forward with 2017
Would you like to set a word of the year for your business? Wondering how to do that? Tomorrow (that's Thursday, January 5) at noon I'll be sending out a newsletter talking about exactly that. If you'd like to get a copy, I'd love to have you join my happy little biz community! ♥